There was an aold joke that one day, a cardinl goes rushing into the Pope's office, exclaiming, "I have both great and terrible news, Your Holiness!" The Pope rises, agitated - "What is the great news, my son?" "It's Jesus Christ," the cardinal gasps, "He has returned again and is on the telephone now, asking for you!" "Why, that's wonderful!" says the Pope. "But tell me, what is the bad news?" The cardinal grows pale - "He's calling from Salt Lake City!"
I recently read a book called "Leaving the Saints" by Martha Beck, who is the daughter of a noted Mormon scholar, Hugh Nibley. I find it overblown and its hyperbole makes certain things ring untrue, especially when she discusses her father's alleged ritualistic sexual abuse of her between the ages of 5 and 8, that she only remembered once she was a grown woman.
I have always been fascinated by "Made in the USA" faiths and beliefs and Mormonism is certainly tops among them. Joseph Smith began his church in upstate New York around 1830 and for a young faith system, its growth has been phenomenal. Despite my misgivings about Dr. beck's "memoirs," I decided to visit the Mormon blogosphere and see what they have got to offer.
However, Mormonism remains, in my mind, a false religion, largely because of its insistence that the faithful will become gods in the afterlife, each assigned to his celestial kingdom. While the perfection of our souls await us in heaven - after a good cleansing in Purgatory - we shall remain His servants.
One tenet of the Mormon faith is Baptism of the Dead. After a person dies, that person may be baptized into the Mormon faith by proxy. This is one of the reasons why genealogy figures so prominently in Mormon life, because you need not worry that a ancestor will be left behind. I have often joked that I will be quite upset if a great-great-great-grandchild decides to baptize me into Mormon, as I don't wish to leave Catholic heaven, what with a strong cup of coffee in the morning and a cocktail at Happy Hour at the end of the celestial day, both substances eschewed by traditional Mormons (I'm not sure where they stand on bingo, but I don't want to go there).
Unfortunately, while nosing around some Mormon blogs, I discovered that they have gone and baptized our late Holy Father, John Paul II! Of particular interest on the posting I found is that they included the links to the Mormon's on-line Family Search database, that I have used many a time for my own genealogical research, which show that His Holiness is at least listed in the database. It appears that the Family Search database does not include actual dates for Baptism or his "sealing" - for all eternity - to his parents. However, it appears anoterh Mormon has found those "ordinances" and posted when they were done.
I think it is laughable, of course. JohnPaull II's Baptism into the Catholic Church was the only one he needed and the only one that is true. If Mormons think they are saving his soul by a posthumous proxy Baptism, well, okay, but it is not as if it means anything. What is funny is that I have read that in Mormonism, you will have the ability to reproduce and bring forth spirit children. So, what's a priest who has taken a vow of celibacy to do in Mormon Heaven? Or maybe His Holiness will be in one of the lesser kingdoms since it seems to gain entrance to the celestial kingdom, one must also marry.
The Mormons have gotten into trouble before for baptizing Holocaust victims. I invite you to look at Family Search and see if any of your loved Catholic relatives who have passed away have been "reconstituted" into Latter Day Saints.